Updated on 09/18/2011 1:41AM

Ouija Board takes thriller

Racing Post
Ouija Board, Frankie Dettori up, wins the Nassau Stakes on Saturday.

Ouija Board put the finishing touches on a truly glorious Goodwood meet as she outbattled Alexander Goldrun to emerge victorious in a Nassau Stakes that will not soon be forgotten.

The two 5-year-old mares threw the gauntlet down at each other entering the last quarter-mile of the 1 1/4-mile Group 1 contest, neither giving an inch as Frankie Dettori, on the rail with the even-money Ouija Board, and Kevin Manning aboard the 9-2 Alexander Goldrun, pulled out all the stops. Alexander Goldrun, the defending Nassau title-holder, appeared to lead briefly at the three-sixteenths pole, but Ouija Board reasserted herself only to be met near the line by a renewed challenge from Alexander Goldrun.

Ultimately it came down to which of two bobbing noses would touch the line first. Somehow, Ouija Board gutted it out in as thrilling a finish as could be imagined. Her winning time on good to firm ground was, not surprisingly, a track-record 2:04.47.

The victory gives Ouija Board, an Ed Dunlop-trained daughter of Cape Cross, six lifetime Group or Grade 1 victories.

In addition to the $380,000 Nassau, Ouija Board has won the English Oaks, the Irish Oaks, the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, the Hong Kong Vase and the Prince of Wales's Stakes.

Alexander Goldrun has five Group 1 wins: a pair of Pretty Polly Stakes, the Prix de l'Opera, the Hong Kong Cup and last year's Nassau.

Rather remarkably, this was the first time the two brilliant mares had ever faced each other, but it may not be the last. Trainer Jim Bolger said that Alexander Goldrun would go next in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Sept. 9, while Dunlop and owner Lord Derby, who have a number of options for Ouija Board before her intended date in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, could send the mare to Leopardstown as well.

Lost in the hullabaloo was the third-place finisher, Nannina. Two lengths in arrears in her first start beyond a mile, the 3-year-old filly was running under the shadow of a second drug test which, if positive like the first, will disqualify her from victory in Royal Ascot's Group 1 Coronation Stakes.

The five-day "Glorious Goodwood" meeting will go down as one of the greatest in history, with Yeats, Court Masterpiece, Iffraaj, and the undefeated Red Evie among the older winners, and juveniles Strategic Prince, Hamoody, and Enticing all looking promising. None of those could match the feat of Ouija Board, however, as she is truly one for the ages.